Day 4 at the WTA Italian Open will conclude the second round. Looking to move on the the Round of 16, seeds Anett Kontaveit, Marketa Vondrousova, Petra Martic, Garbine Muguruza, Johanna Konta, and Kiki Bertens will be in action. There are some great matches on deck. Who will move be moving on and who will be sent packing? At LWOT, we are predicting all eight of the Day 4 matches–four in this article, and four in a second article.
WTA Italian Open Day 4 Predictions
Daria Kasatkina vs Katerina Siniakova
Head to Head: Kasatkina 3-0
This match represents a battle of two underperforming players. Siniakova has excelled in the doubles draw, but spend the last 18 months wanting for more from her singles performances. The red dirt is an obvious boon for the Czech, who broke a five out of six losing streak. To do so against the World #22 Angelique Kerber perhaps impressed most. Looking to move back into the Top 50, the current World #61 is hoping to string together a few match wins.
Kasatkina has had an equally dismal 18-month run. From injuries to coaching changes, the Russian has suffered subpar performances. In fact, the former World #10 had to go through qualifiers to gain entry into the main draw. Yet, Kasatkina is starting to show flickers of her former form. Kasatkina has dropped just nine games in her three straight sets wins in Rome. A remarkable problem solver, Kasatkina will need to work quickly to get the Siniakova threat under control. I see history repeating itself, and expect Kasatkina to come through in straight sets.
Prediction: Kasatkina in 2
Anett Kontaveit vs Svetlana Kuznetsova
Head to Head: Kontaveit 1-0
In the twilight of her career, Svetlana Kuznetsova remains no less of a threat. The 2009 French Open champion tends to rise to the occasion on clay, and will be looking for a deep run in Rome. Skipping the abbreviated US hardcourt swing allowed Kuznetsova ample time to perfect her claycourt play.
Yet, Estonia’s Anett Kontaveit may prove an overwhelming challenge for the Russian. Kontaveit is in excellent form and enjoying a 25-8 win/loss record. She returned to the Tour after the five month hiatus without missing a beat. Reaching the final at Palermo and the last eight at the Western & Southern shows Kontaveit’s rhythm remains. It will take a lot to exit Kontaveit at this juncture.
Prediction: Kontaveit in 2
Irina-Camelia Begu vs Johanna Konta
Head to Head: First Meeting
Until 2019, Johanna Konta had no success as a clay court challenge. In fact, until her stellar year, the Brit won only a few of her matches on this surface. As if a switch flipped, Konta reached the finals at the Rabat Open and followed that up with a trip to the finals in Rome. Britain’s #1 actually reached the semifinals at the French Open, forever removing any doubt as to her clay court skill. Konta will be eager for another year of clay court success. Yet, Irina-Camelia Begu might just be the Brit’s undoing.
The Romanian turns in her best results on clay. This surface alone will make her a formidable opponent. The qualifier had a great run to the semifinals in Prague. However, she followed that up with a first round loss at the US Open. This serves to confirm that coming up against Begu on clay is a dangerous day for even the elite of the game. The oddsmakers see Begu as the slight favorite – and I see her as more than slight.
Prediction: Begu in 3
Garbine Muguruza vs Coco Gauff
Head to Head: First Meeting
Recovering from injury is never an easy road – just ask Garbine Muguruza. The Spaniard was forced to withdraw from the Cincinnati Open with a lingering ankle injury. The two time Grand Slam champion arrived at the US Open with little time on court, and would fail to see the third round. Opening her Rome campaign against Sloane Stephens erased any remaining questions as to the Spaniard’s form. Muguruza marched into the second round with a straight sets win over American Sloane Stephens. Some of Muguruza’s best has come on clay – a 2016 French Open title and semifinal appearances at the 2016 and 2017 Italian Open. Perhaps the #9 seed’s win over Stephens is the catalyst to propel her further.
All American eyes were on the teen phenom, Coco Gauff. That’s a lot of pressure for someone so young. Lexington was a great start for Gauff who stunned Aryna Sabalenka and Ons Jabeur en route to the semifinals. Yet that success gave way to early exits at the Western & Southern and US Open. Gauff was able to bounce Jabeur and stop the losing streak in Rome. An in form Ons Jabeur is every bit as formidable as Muguruza, and Coco will be looking for another big win in this clash. If she can get her first serve in play, it’s enough to trouble the Spaniard. But any deficiency in that shot will be punished. It’s a hard one to call, but I’ll go with Gauff, who seems to have cleaned up her errant play.
Prediction: Gauff in 3
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